HACT's Social Impact Adviser David King talks about how Community Insight can be used to effectively identify and map assets.
Housing association business models are primarily focused on the effective management of assets. Over recent years, there has been an increasing focus on the location of those assets, both from the point of view of effective service delivery and the identification of opportunities for stock rationalisation and consolidation.
Despite this, to date there has been a lack of easy and affordable tools to help identify and map ownership and location of social housing on a neighbourhood basis. Community Insight, HACT and OCSI’s mapping platform, used by around half of all major housing providers, has been one of the few tools available that has sought to address this difficulty. Using Community Insight, it is simple to plot your assets on a map and – for the last two years its ‘My Patch’ capability allows you to explore the ownership of other housing providers activities in your areas. In a time of merger, stock swaps, and shared services, it’s easy to appreciate just how useful this feature could be.
When ‘My Patch’ was first built, the CORE Lettings Database - made up of all the lettings by social housing providers - was the best data available to provide this functionality. We’re now excited to announce that we can go one step further in helping to map and identify asset ownership on a neighbourhood by neighbourhood basis. The Land Registry has made its database of commercial ownership of land available and we’ve been working hard over the last six months to incorporate it into Community Insight for the benefit of all our users, and at no extra subscription cost.
One of the reasons it is hard to keep on top of asset ownership and location using non-technology based solutions is because many modern housing organisations are amalgamations of former local authority stock and stock inherited from previous merger partners. As a result, the first task when using the data is to clean and organize it. Having done that, the next stage is to find ways for users to access and use it in the most intuitive way possible. We want to ensure that - in keeping with rest of the product – this new Community Insight feature can be used by anyone in a housing providers with minimal training and maximum results.
At CIH’s Housing 2016, we’ll be launching the feature. Then in July we’re holding two free masterclasses for those wanting to get on top of the new functionality. We’ll be focusing on how you can map your own business data on Community Insight, gaining access to its easy to use mapping and dashboarding features, and giving you help with making the most out of the new My Patch feature so you can bring that new functionality and insight back into your own organisation.